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Star Ratings

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Green Zone Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Friday, 12 March 2010 11:19
Director: Paul Greengrass
Cast: Matt Damon, Jason Isaacs, Amy Ryan, Brendan Gleeson, Greg Kinnear
Certificate: 15

"I came here to find weapons and save lives". "It's a little more complicated than that." "Not for me!" Roy Miller (Damon) is an American soldier with a difference. Not only does he bear an uncanny resemblance to Jason Bourne and Hollywood actor Matt Damon, he also has a big thing for the truth. Why does his Iraq team keep failing to find WMDs in every location they raid?

No-one else is questioning the dodgy intel. So Miller takes it upon himself to hunt down the answers "off reservation". A rogue grunt single-handedly uncovering the Iraq war deception? It's a far-fetched idea and one that never quite works.

It's a good job that Paul Greengrass is holding the camera then - waving the lens all over the place, his trademark kinetic style works wonders in Iraq's occupied Green Zone, forcing us head-on into a cluster of shoot-ups and smackdowns. Amidst the insurgents and the wildly violent special forces - led by a butch Jason Isaacs with one hell of a 'tache - Miller more than holds his own. It's when he stops to ask questions that it all falls down.

The corrupt CIA guys are all in place and suitably slimy - Clark Poundstone (Kinnear) wants power as soon as possible, despite Martin Brown's (Gleeson) view that a more diplomatic takeover is possible and, moreover, needed. But shades of grey get dipped all-too-easily in tins of Dulux black and white. Arriving after the overdue Chilcott inquiry, Green Zone makes a valid point, but one that's over-simplified and out of date.

Visually, it makes for solid popcorn fodder. But this is Paul Greengrass - the man who brought us Bloody Sunday and United 93 is capable of better political movies than this. As it all boils down to a cracking chase through an explosive Baghdad, racing after General Al Rawi (Saddam's Jack of Clubs), this thriller really takes a grip on its surroundings with gut-punching action. But with its ill-conceived dialogue and a wasted Amy Ryan as a Wall Street journalist, the adrenaline rush comes just a little too late.


With a twist that sadly everyone knows, this war film is a blistering bomb site of ideas. Greengrass is great at asking accurate questions, but Green Zone is better at blowing stuff up.